02/06/2008 15:59,

Sir Alex salutes Norman

Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his sadness at the death of former United kit man Norman Davies.

The United manager remained close friends with Norman long after his 1996 retirement, and said on Tuesday: "Manchester United lost one of its biggest fans yesterday and I lost a dear friend.

"Norman was a larger than life character loved by everyone who knew him. My thoughts are now with his family at this terribly sad time."

Norman, who died early on Monday aged 76, was the club's first kit man. He joined the club in April 1973 and retired after 23 years' service in June 1996.

He is survived by his wife Hilary, daughters Jayne and Helen, and grandchildren Thomas, Jade and Harry.

United chief executive David Gill said: "Norman was a character who summed up Manchester United: hard-working, loyal and a team player.

"Firm and fair with those he encountered, Norman was a regular visitor to the club since his retirement and will be missed by all those who knew him.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."


Premier League